With the growth of the mobile communication network, from second-generation to third-generation or fourth-generation networks, technologists in the mobile industry continue to consider advanced wireless network architectures that have the potential to reduce networking costs and provide increased flexibility with respect to network features. In this paper, we propose the wireless network cloud (WNC), a wireless system architecture for a wireless access network. This system makes use of emerging cloud-computing technology and various technologies involved with wireless infrastructure, such as software radio technology and remote radio head technology. Based on open information technology architecture, the WNC provides all the necessary transmission and processing resources for a wireless access network operating in a cloud mode. Note that it is useful to separate the hardware and software for different wireless standards and various services and business models, as well as to meet the new system requirements for emerging wireless technologies, such as collaborative processing at different scales of network use. We analyze several important system challenges involving computational requirements of virtual base stations, I/O throughput, and timing networks for synchronization. Based on current information technologies, we make several suggestions with respect to future system design. ©Copyright 2010 by International Business Machines Corporation.